Category Archives: projects

Eh? What’s that, Sonny?

I’m no longer hosting, but if anyone is looking for it, it can be found here:

Why am I jealous of poster board?

Because my new poster gets to go to Istanbul, Turkey for next week’s EvoStar Evolutionary Computation conference without me. I just shipped it off this morning.

Combining puzzle-making with biologically-inspired computer algorithms. Because life isn’t already crazy enough.

Click the above image to see the large version of the poster. Or, you can get a copy of the original PDF. And download the entire 10 page paper if you really want to bore yourself.

We decided not to travel to Istanbul for the conference because of the expense and difficulty in getting there. Alas, I will not be able to experience the surreal juxtaposition of the geeky Mario A.I. competition amidst the majestic ruins of the ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.

My other posters: Evolutionary art (GECCO 2007), Cracking substitution ciphers (GECCO 2008)

For Whom the Smell Tolls

I noticed some similarities between my baby daughter’s name, and the name of a famous band. And so this was born:

If the logo survives the vetting process, Spreadshirt will put one of these in the mail to me shortly:



TGAW’s series of posts of “Season Compares” inspired me to code up another creation, the Swapper, to add to my ever-expanding collection of web toys of questionable value.

Example swappification. Click to open if it isn’t animating for you.

Its purpose is to let you specify two images. The Swapper will load your two images and display the first one for you. When you move your mouse cursor over the first image, the second image will appear. When you move your mouse cursor away from the second image, the first image will appear. This gives you a way to quickly flip between two images to compare them. Give it a try! There are some sample images there to get you started.

New site launched today:

I launched a new site site this morning:

I saw this xkcd comic recently, and it made me want to be able to see Wikipedia articles side-by-side with their “simple” counterparts.

Simple English Wikipedia is a version of the Wikipedia encyclopedia, written in Simple English and started in 2004. The encyclopedia is supposed to be used by children, who might not understand the complicated articles in the English Wikipedia, and other people who are still learning English.” is a quick hack I put together that lets you view the articles side-by-side. To do this, go to the site and type an article name in the search box (for example, War, or Peace, or Chocolate). Or, paste the article’s URL directly from wikipedia (for example, Then click the “Again, but slower” button. The site will try to load the original article and the simplified article side-by-side. If it doesn’t find the simple version, try a different article, because not all of Wikipedia’s articles have been translated into simple versions.

You can also try some examples by choosing one from the pulldown list on the page. Or, try your luck with a random article by clicking the Random button. If you click the full formatting checkbox, the original formatting of the Wikipedia articles will be displayed (the site displays the printable stripped-down format by default).

Zodiac web toy

Get our your decoder rings and try out my Zodiac cipher web toy. Crack the code; become instantly famous!

Click the scribblings to try to outsmart the killer.

This cipher is one of the famous unsolved ciphers that the Zodiac serial killer sent to newspapers back in the late 1960s / early 1970s to taunt people about his killings. His first cipher was solved a long time ago. But he sent another cipher, which remains unsolved to this day. Many cryptography experts have tried and failed, which has led to speculation that the cipher is a hoax sent to frustrate and delay detectives working the case. But there are claims that by using statistical analysis, you can tell that the cipher does indeed contain a message (I don’t recall exactly how).

Go break the code!

Shiny Four

Here is the latest toy that I made for my AI course:

Shiny Four.

Shiny Four is a Connect Four implementation, using a minimax search with alpha-beta pruning, written in JavaScript. The JavaScript makes it quite slow and inefficient. But it works. Kinda. If you play against the computer, it will take a few moments (5 to 10 seconds on my machine) for it to make its move. Try to beat the coldhearted machine!

New web toy

The Artificial Intelligence course I’m taking now is turning out to be very interesting and fun. I gathered much geeky satisfaction from resurrecting (read: “stealing”) old Ultima IV graphics for a pathfinding project that I wrote as a web application:

Click here to play with it. It’s very JavaScript-heavy, so it needs a modern browser that doesn’t suck. It works in IE but prefers Firefox and Safari.

Thou hast lost an eighth!

Haiku explosion

I was inspired by the random-haiku-spewing IRC chatterbot at work to make a version that works in Javascript. It uses the same phrase fragments that drive the IRC version:

I think it will probably only work in modern browsers. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry – you aren’t missing much.

Alternate version without the explosion effect:

(if you are seeing this in an rss reader, please come directly to the post, since the javascript probably won’t work in your reader)

(see also: GOOSE)

The ghosts of BASIC past

Click the button for resurrected geekery.


From Jerry:
“What goose did:

Once upon a time, there was a great sinus who lived in a large goose in the clouds.

I’d really like to hear the rest of that story.”